Residency Goals and Objectives

The goal of pathology training at UT Southwestern Medical Center is the development of competency in the required areas of medical practice, such that the graduate of the Pathology Residency Program will possess the knowledge, skill, and attitude for the successful practice of pathology (i.e., the ability to recognize, interpret, and explain pathologic processes) and for the life-long pursuit of learning.

Objectives of the Pathology Residency Program in the Six Core Competencies

Dr. Burner Teaching
  • Patient Care: The resident will acquire competency in the technical generation and interpretation of laboratory data and in the formulation of clinicopathologic correlations, so as to provide appropriate and effective consultation in the context of pathology services. In those situations where the resident has direct interaction with patients, families, or donors (e.g., bone marrow aspiration, fine needle aspiration, apheresis), the resident will perform such interviewing, examination, and counseling as may be required with caring and respect. The resident will learn how to work effectively within a multidisciplinary health care team, participating as appropriate in informed decision-making and clinical management.
  • Medical Knowledge: The resident will acquire knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and clinically related sciences and will apply this knowledge to the understanding of basic pathologic processes in both individual patients and the general patient population. The resident will apply concepts of investigational and analytic thinking to the interpretation of laboratory data.
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement: The resident will learn to appraise and assimilate scientific data from the medical literature toward the practice of evidence-based medicine. The resident will learn to apply research and statistical methods to laboratory data. The resident will learn the principles and practice of information technology and how it can be used to manage patient data. The resident will learn to investigate and evaluate his/her own diagnostic and consultative practices, and to improve his/her patient care practices.
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills: The resident will develop interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and expertise with other health care providers, patients, and patients’ families, and will assume an active role in the education of the health-care community.
  • Professionalism: The resident will develop a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse population of patients and health care providers.
  • Systems-based practice: The resident will develop knowledge and experience in laboratory management, an awareness and responsiveness to the place of pathology in the larger context and system of health care, and the ability to call on resources within the system to provide pathology services that are of optimal value.

Design of the Pathology Residency Program with Respect to Levels of Training

The attainment of the six core competencies is achieved through a training curriculum of 4 years for AP/CP residents (3 years for AP-only and CP-only residents on focused clinical research tracks). The basic curriculum is composed of a series of required rotations through various areas of the clinical laboratory, during each of which the resident will gain competency through didactic lessons with faculty and staff, independent study, participation in patient care activities as part of the health-care team, and participation in quality assurance and management activities of the laboratory, the institution and the greater health-care community. While the order of rotations is not absolutely fixed so that the curriculum can be individualized according to the goals and interests of each resident, expected stages of competency are reflected in the general order of the rotations. The basic plan for a four-year AP/CP training program is as follows:

Year 1 
Year 2 
Year 3 
Year 4 


At the end of every rotation, the rotation director discusses the resident's performance directly with the resident and provides the resident with a written review, indicating areas of strength and weakness. Each resident meets individually with the Pathology Residency Program Director at least twice a year. The Program Director and the Clinical Competency Committee monitor progress. Residents have the opportunity to provide an anonymous evaluation of each rotation and of the program as a whole to the Program Evaluation Committee. Meetings of the Program Evaluation Committee are open to residents, and residents are key participants in the annual Program Evaluation Retreat.

The Chair of the Department asks each resident to complete a formal evaluation of the entire teaching faculty at the end of each year, which he uses to evaluate faculty performance relating to resident education. The residents meet monthly for a luncheon with the chief residents, who provide feedback to the Residency Program Director; the faculty and Program Director attend these meetings when invited. The Chair meets with the entire house staff periodically to provide updates on the Pathology Department and the University and to discuss any issues of concern.